Venture capitalists cannot stop talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the latent potential that it holds for all things. Different sectors have already begun implementing the innovative technology — schools, game developers, insurance companies and even the media — but for casinos and the gambling industry in general, integrating the IoT has proven to be a very tricky step.
Las Vegas — long considered to be a city that is at the forefront of technological innovations — may utilize smart mirrors, state of the art lighting systems and cutting edge security gadgets, but the use of IoT has remained sparse. That is not to say that developers are not tinkering with the best ways to use the tech in the gambling industry.
Read on as we discuss in this article just how IoT is going to impact gambling all over the world. But before we get to that, let us first take a look at what exactly is IoT.
What is IoT?
IoT is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and daily objects. Inserted with electronics, Internet connectivity, and all manners of hardware like that of sensors, these innovative devices can “talk” with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely supervised and controlled. The definition of IoT has changed all through the years mainly because of the convergence of a number of different technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. Conventional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation including that of home and building automation, and others all play a role in enabling IoT.
In the consumer market, IoT technology often linked to products that allude to the popular concept of the “smart home.” This points to devices and appliances like lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems, and cameras and other gadgets found in consumers’ homes that support one or more common ecosystems and could be remotely controlled with the use of devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers. However, businesses that include casinos are already beginning to leverage this promising technology in many different ways.
1) Smartwatch Casinos
Yes, smartwatch casinos are no longer flights of fancy. They have arrived and it appears that they are here to stay. Initially conceptualized way back in 2014 by game developer Microgaming, it was not until 2017 that they finally revealed the very first smartwatch game, which blew the socks off of tech enthusiasts and silenced doubters all over the world as well.
That particular Microgaming game was a slot game that was shrunk to suit the interface of a smartwatch. It was the first of its kind and game developers chose to play it safe, opting to go with a fuss-free interface that had a limited number of features.
There were also other developers that tried their hand at utilizing IoT to deliver games to smartwatch users. Casumo, Dunder and Captain Cooks can all be accessed on Android smartwatches. On the other hand, Apple users have games such as Twirlaloop slots and Slots Time. The games on the Apple app store, however, remain limited as casinos are hesitant to join Apple mainly because of its stringent position regarding real-money casino platforms.
2) Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality (AR) does what its name purports — augment your surroundings. Virtual reality (VR) on the other hand, renders images life-like. So basically, if you are playing slots from the comfort of your own home and want to make it look like you are in an actual Las Vegas casino, AR can make this and other scenarios happen.
AR and VR tech has long been hailed as the next big things in gambling but has faced numerous challenges when it comes to actually integrate the technologies and making it a viable thing. Even if online casinos and game developers could produce the said games, players still need to pay a pretty money in order to acquire the computers needed to run it. Consider this: on average, a laptop powerful enough to handle VR would set you back $1,200 while VR headsets cost $400. For a lot of players, the costs are too astronomical to consider.
In stark contrast, a regular non-VR online casino on Zamsino would venture to match your first deposit 100% so that you can possibly bet to as many games as you can afford with your first deposit. And unlike VR casinos, there is no need to purchase a new computer. Just use your current smartphone or laptop and you are good to go.
3) Security and Social Responsibility
Arguably, the biggest benefactors to the arrival of IoT are brick and mortar casinos. The advent of surveillance cameras door locks and so much more has definitely brought security systems in Las Vegas to a whole different level, making them smarter and more efficient than ever before.
The implementations of these technologies have allowed casinos to do away with hiring a lot of people to do surveillance of the vast casino grounds. Once smart cameras with the ability to identify movements are installed properly, monitoring rooms became so much easier to do. The cameras examine all rooms and corners. If anyone is found out to be somewhere they should not be, security personnel is immediately alerted to the situation and respond quickly and accordingly.
At ATM machines and slot machines, there are cameras and mirrors monitoring you as well. The door locks are supervised remotely with the use of iPads while it would take an incredible failure in security to improperly access ATMs. Of course, the overreliance on smart devices for security also has its fair share of concerns but at the end of the day, it has a lot of benefits as well.
In addition, with the new rules being established by the Gambling Commission earlier this year involving identity, age verification as well as fair and safe play, the IoT has come into play to help streamline responsible gaming tools and aid in customer security.
The IoT kicks the process off by helping to gather consumer data. As players log on to play, their activity is monitored and online casinos get a summary of their actions, helping them produce an idea of that particular player as an individual and all players as a collective consumer base. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps to convert that data into patterns, through which individual behaviors may be assessed and identified as abnormal.
At the moment, AI-enabled machine learning programs are already being used to determine problem gambling inside a consumer base. Specialists have finished the development of programs that monitor individual user data patterns. These programs then analyze them and comparing them against patterns that display problematic or possibly addictive behavior.
When a problematic pattern is identified on an individual player’s account, corresponding action must then be taken by the casino itself to alleviate the situation. The player may also be kept abreast of the situation, possibly leading to a modification in behavior or entrance into a self-exclusion program. AI also has the capability to evaluate the success level of various forms of intervention in helping casinos streamline their protocol and establish foolproof methods to protect players and themselves.
As users log into IoT-connected devices like mobile phones and tablets more and more, this particular potential for learning becomes far greater because of the number of sensors on these devices. Cameras, voice recognition, wearable tech, and touchscreens all deliver a plethora of opportunities for data gathering. And this is where other security elements such as ID verification can come into play.
These days, there are companies offering a distinct service to casino providers: identity verification through biometrics. This process essentially mandates users to take selfies in real-time and at times, forward other personal documents like ID cards or bills. The AI then evaluates the photo with the use of facial recognition technology, comparing it against a library of identical images and rooting out underage gamblers and people making deceitful accounts.
AI can also use deep learning to root out problems in its own system as well. A prevalent issue that most casinos deal with is flagging an innocent user. As of right now, the most foolproof method is to use this software in conjunction with human verification, especially when problems crop up. Once these issues are smoothened, the whole system of ID verification would possibly become a lot smoother and hassle-free.
While the presence of IoT devices in the gambling industry remains fairly limited, the few that are there can alter the marketing campaigns of casinos. The use of AR and VR devices can help gather data that would prove vital in bolstering the gaming experience of users. This particular data can also be combined with information gathered by computers and smartphones to make sure that gamers would no longer receive any random ads from casinos.
In addition, progressive casinos can try and find out other methods to make your preferred games their primary focus when conducting their marketing. Some firms could also come up with new games to fit the ever-changing needs brought about by the advent of IoT devices. For IoT device producers, the data gathered by the devices would essentially help bolster the devices and the services they offer.
5) Customer Service
Casinos can give players a better and more personalized gaming experience with the help of IoT. Whether it is marketing strategies, customized offers and rewards programs that are tailored to your tastes, or even games that have features that you prefer, the IoT can play a huge role in making all these happen.
Casinos can do this by tracking data taken from player accounts and from IoT connected devices. At this point, AI deep learning programs interpret this data and update providers and developers alike on new trends.
These patterns may be based on how a single player develops or may include a wider range of players to monitor preferences depending on location, age, or other demographics. For example, gamified slots and themed games inspired by pop-culture are becoming more hip with younger gamers, so we can expect to see developers working to fulfill these demands and intelligent casino providers offering more of these types of games.
As the consumer base develops even further, so will their penchants, and casinos would be able to tell based on data that they are gravitating towards. In addition, a casino would be able to find out what exactly it is a specific player needs, and subsequently, come up with targeted campaigns to suit them on a smaller scale.
This information could include vital data such as age, sex, location, length of time spent on particular games, login times, and a lot more. These are all taken into account, as well as players’ reactions to particular offers and the success and failure rate of each targeted campaign. As the program learns more about what players respond to, the offers would become more fruitful.
What matters the most is that the client gets their wants and needs fulfilled with regards to gaming. They should have choices placed in front of them and also have the chance to learn about and become engaged in new activities, games, and promotions.
Many industries are routinely using IoT. From marketing to airplane production, to sports and entertainment, these and so much more are already reaping the benefits that come with the advent of the IoT. However, when it comes to the gambling industry, it is just scratching the surface of what can be possible.
For brick and mortar casinos, there is a vast number of ways to utilize IoT, although security is apparently where it excels the most. With the extensive application of AI and IoT, the gaming industry is set to experience a boom in the very near future. With better security, heightened user experience, and seamless online gaming, it is only a matter of time before all these components come together to give gamers of all levels and budgets the ultimate experience.